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William Beavers Jury Selection Delayed In Tax-Evasion Trial

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William Beavers Jury Selection Delayed In Tax-Evasion Trial

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Beavers Says He'll Testify in Tax-Evasion Trial

County commissioner says there's "no question" he'll take the stand in his own defense. Phil Rogers reports.

Beavers Can Say He Repaid Money if He Testifies

An influential Chicago politician can tell jurors he put cash back into his campaign coffers and amended his tax returns as part of his defense at his upcoming tax-evasion trial, but only if he takes the stand and speaks to jurors directly, a judge ruled Friday. Phil Rogers reports.
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Jury selection in the tax-evasion trial of Chicago Democrat William Beavers was delayed Monday because of issues with the jury questionnaire.

Judge James Zagel said he wanted to clear up some unspecified items on the juror survey and called a recess until 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Beavers, 77, is accused of taking thousands of campaign dollars for personal use. He maintains he is not guilty and said Monday he plans to "testify and tell the truth."

The Cook County commissioner was charged with three counts of filing false tax returns, and authorities allege he under-reported his total income and taxable income on his federal returns for 2006 through 2008.

Beavers angrily has disputed those charges and says he has proof the money was paid back and that it could legally be used. He said his office has a document showing the $68,000 payout he took from his campaign fund was paid back in 2009.

At a pretrial hearing in December, Judge James Zagel said Beavers can tell jurors he repaid money he borrowed from his campaign and amended his returns after learning he was being investigated, but he can only broach that issue if he takes the witness stand.

Beavers has long contended that he was only being prosecuted because he refused to wear a wire on fellow commissioner John Daley. Daley has never been charged with a crime.

The commissioner’s lawyers indicated he was expected to testify in his own defense, but that they would let him make the final decision. For his part, Beavers said that decision had already been made.

"I will, no question about it," he said. "I’ll raise my hand, and swear before God to tell the truth."

Each count against Beavers carries a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

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